MME to Address Kudu’s Viability

Following recent media reports that former NamPower Managing Director, Dr Leake Hangala, called the much-anticipated Kudu gas to power project “not viable”, both the national power utility and the Ministry of Mines and Energy have been tight-lipped about these damning accusations.

Even Hangala has decided not to elaborate on his statements where he allegedly called the project “a waste of time and money” and apparently charged that those who are spearheading the project are “not telling the leaders the truth”.

“I have seen that there are a lot of issues that have been attributed to me on this matter that I have not said. I, for example, do not remember saying that they are not ‘telling the truth’. Against that background, I do not want to comment further on this matter,” Hangala told New Era.

Meanwhile, after promising to divulge more information on the matter, NamPower decided at the eleventh hour not to respond to questions posed by this reporter and instead referred all queries related to Kudu’s viability to a Ministry of Mines and Energy media briefing apparently scheduled for next tuesday. No invitation to such a press conference had been received at the time of going to print.

According to this week’s media reports, Hangala apparently told the ministers of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, and Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, as well as NamPower’s Managing Director, Paulinus Shilamba, that the project will not be viable due to significant gas discovered recently in Mozambique and Tanzania.

During an energy forum organised by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Hangala said the Kudu gas-to-power project also does not have an operator after the United Kingdom (UK)-based Tullow Oil withdrew its participation.

Hangala, who is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Hangala Group and who was NamPower’s Managing Director from 1995 to 2006, allegedly also charged that South Africa’s Eskom has also not indicated any interest in buying electricity through the project. According to industry experts, this lack of interest by South Africa is probably attributed to a strategic partnership with Russia, reportedly worth more than N$500 billion, to significantly increase its nuclear power generation capacity.

During the recent energy forum, Minister of Mines and Energy, Katali, noted that recent developments on the Kudu Gas Project, such as the financing of the National Petroleum Corporation’s (Namcor’s) 44 percent shareholding, will make the project attractive enough for major investors.

However, Katali cautioned that time on the Kudu Gas project is critical and any further delays will have serious cost implications.

Source : New Era